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Empty Bowl still serves up support during pandemic

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    From left to right: Elgin Empty Bowl Project board members Barbara Adkins and Stephanie Wood with Tresha Silva, executive director of the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry. Photos by Julianne Hodges
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    Melinda, a volunteer from Butler Brick, hands the Empty Bowl bags to an attendee.
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    Kelly Koenning from Jeanette Shelby Realty sells tickets and directs attendees through the drive-through.
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    Deflora Thorne sells Empty Bowl tickets to attendees.
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    Sandra Dougan, who works for the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry, hands over Empty Bowl bags.
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    The Empty Bowl bags, waiting for customers.
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    Iqbal Simjee, director of operations in the Austin area for Domino's Pizza, brings pizzas to Tresha Silva for the Empty Bowl volunteers. He also brought coupons for Domino's Pizza to add to the Empty Bowl bags, as well as information about positions that Domino's Pizza is hiring for locally.
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    The board members, staff and volunteers for the Elgin Empty Bowl Project.

This year's Empty Bowl Project looked a little different, but still helped support local food pantries.

The fourth annual Elgin Empty Bowl took place on Saturday in front of the SPJST Hall. Typically, Empty Bowl consists of restaurants serving soup to a room full of attendees and compete for awards for the best recipe. However, this year because of COVID-19, the event was changed to a drive-through event where participants bought tickets to receive a "goodie bag" in place of the usual Empty Bowl experience. The goodie bags included a hand-decorated bowl, an Empty Bowl tradition, as well as coupons from Jalisco's Mexican Restaurant, Southside Market & Barbeque, Roadhouse in Bastrop and Paige, Sonic Drive-In and Domino's Pizza.

On Saturday's event, a total of 66 people were served.

Empty Bowl is a nation-wide grassroots movement to raise money and awareness in an effort to end hunger and food insecurity. Elgin's Empty Bowl is a partnership among the restaurants and caterers throughout Bastrop County, local artists and businesses. Proceeds from the event support the Bastrop County Emergency Food Pantry, Elgin Community Cupboard and the First Baptist Church of Elgin.

Sponsors of the Elgin Empty Bowl Project are: Elgin Evening Lions Club, Elgin Breeding Service, Bluebonnet Electric Co-op, Barbara Adkins, Cielo Water, Jay Sutton with Edward Jones, Elgin Butler Company, First National Bank of Elgin, McCrary Insurance Agency, Marc & Tesla Nash, Realtor Sandra Menley and Elgin Fertilizer Company. In-kind donors include: G&C Printing, Powell's Printing and SPJST Hall.